How would you describe your childhood?
I grew up in Lynfield with my mother and late grandmother. Growing up in a household of three generations of amazing women was by far the best gift anyone could have. My late grandmother was a wonderful storyteller, who often spoke of life in Samoa and the traditional values of faith and family.
What was the best piece of advice you've received?
One of my good friends, a lecturer, said to our class, "Challenge the textbook, challenge the findings and challenge the readings. Apply that to life to seek answers." That advice was music to my ears as I felt I had found another person who had just granted me permission to seek choice in life.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
Witnessing the impact of our BEST leadership programme on our participants and the positive changes that result. Also meeting the family members, who are just so proud and pleased to see a loved one exceeding expectations. Because we gave them the tools to embrace change, be comfortable with the uncomfortable and to fulfil their true potential.
Who is the most exciting or famous person you've ever met?
The most famous person I've met is the Queen. This was during the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, when I was the New Zealand representative at the Athletes' Lunch. She is lovely, funny and engaging.
What is something about yourself that might surprise people?
After competing at the 1996 Olympic Games, I returned with the intention of retiring from athletics. I did not enjoy the feeling of disappointment.
What is a goal or dream that you have at the moment?
One of my goals is to return to studying. I'm reading literature now to prepare for an opportunity next year, so my summer will be spent reading and then applying.
Blake Leader Beatrice Faumuina was a world champion discus thrower and represented NZ at four Commonwealth Games, winning two gold medals, and four Olympics. In 2011 she became CEO of the BEST Pasifika Leadership Academy and Charitable Foundation.